Skunks, commonly found in both urban and suburban areas in the U.S., are known for their foul-smelling, painful spray which can be directed at people and pets when they feel they’re in danger. They’re also one of the leading carriers of rabies.

Besides being dangerous to your health, skunks can easily damage property. They often dig to make themselves at home underneath sheds, decks, and porches and will raid lawn or gardens as they look for insects.

Skunk Identification and Prevention

The striped skunk is the most common type of skunk and it is easily identified by its black fur and two white stripes running down its back. They are omnivorous and will eat insects and small mammals as well as leaves and grasses. The two biggest indicators of a skunk’s presence to watch out for include burrows dug under your porch, deck, or shed and the stench they give off from their spray. Skunks are nocturnal so they dig and look for food at night and they may be attracted to pet food, garbage, and garden vegetables.

It is important to take action if a skunk is causing problems in your property by either digging under your deck or porch or posing a threat to your pets. The best method of skunk control is preventative action which can be taken in the following ways:

Flood Light: Skunks are light sensitive due to their nocturnal nature and a motion sensor flood light will help scare them off your property.

Keep Pet Food and Garbage Sealed: Sometimes skunks are attracted onto a property by pet food or garbage. Keeping the garbage cans sealed and putting the pet food out of reach will make your property less attractive to skunks.

Fencing: Skunks are diggers so the best way to keep them out with fencing is to bury the fence so they cannot dig under it or install a strand of electric fencing at the bottom of a conventional fence to discourage them.

Exclusion: Keep any openings to your deck, shed, stairs, and pool or hot tub closed.

Skunk Spray

Skunks are known for their defense mechanism in which they spray a very pungent secretion from glands in their anus when they feel threatened. This secretion contains thiols which give it its smell and it can be harmful if it gets in the eyes. Skunks can spray up to several feet when threatened and the only way to neutralize the odor is by changing the chemicals to a different type of molecule. The following are the best methods for neutralizing the smell if a skunk sprays on your property.

Pets: If your pet is sprayed by a skunk, the most effective way to remove the smell is to bathe them in a mixture that contains 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of liquid detergent. Rinse the animal with water after bathing for 5 minutes. This mixture will not work after being stored and it could possibly bleach your pet’s fur. It is best to do this outside to keep the smell out of your home.

Buildings and other Structures: If a skunk sprays your home or other structural elements such as decks or porches, the smell can be removed with a solution of liquid laundry bleach at one cup per gallon. This solution could bleach the surface so try it on a small area first. The bleach must directly contact the spot of the secretion and it may be necessary to repeat these applications for large amounts of skunk spray.

Do NOT bathe your pet in tomato juice, this will not neutralize or eliminate the skunk odor.

Skunk Removal

If a skunk is causing problems on your property by digging up your yard under your porch, patio, or deck or by spraying your pets, then it is best to contact Groen’s Wildlife Services for our skunk trapping and removal services. Our licensed and certified professionals will locate the skunk’s burrows and set traps at the entrances to catch them. Our trapping method is humane and safe for the skunk as well as the people and pets living on the property. In addition to our removal services, we also provide deodorization and exclusion services to prevent skunks from returning to your property.